Greenville man pleads guilty to fatal sexual assault - FOX Carolina 21

Greenville man pleads guilty to fatal sexual assault

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An old mugshot of James Rushton. (Source: Greenville Co. Detention Center) An old mugshot of James Rushton. (Source: Greenville Co. Detention Center)
GREENVILLE, SC (FOX Carolina) -

A Greenville County man was sentenced to jail time after he pleaded guilty to a fatal sexual assault in 2011.

Thirteenth Circuit Solicitor Walt Wilkins said that 52-year-old James Rushton pleaded guilty to first-degree criminal sexual conduct and voluntary manslaughter on Tuesday in the May 2011 case that killed a 33-year-old April Smith.

Prosecutors said Rushton called 911 on May 29 when Smith stopped breathing, and when paramedics arrived, they found her dead.

Rushton later admitted to sexually assaulting the woman with a kitchen utensil, prosecutors said. She suffered blunt force trauma and died from an air embolism that reached her lungs during the assault, Wilkins said.

Evidence presented in court said Smith was unable to consent to the sexual battery at the time of the assault.

Rushton was sentenced to 26 years in prison and must serve at least 85 percent of that time before he is eligible for parole.

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